DURHAM, N.C. -- The Duke men's golf team is ranked 21st in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division I College Preseason Coaches' Poll released on Wednesday through the combined resources of Golf World magazine, Nike Golf and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). The Blue Devils return eight letterwinners including seniors Brinson Paolini and Julian Suri, who have each garnered All-America honors at Duke.
Alabama, with returning NCAA player of the year Justin Thomas and two other All-Americans in Bobby Wyatt and Cory Whitsett, claimed the No. 1 spot in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division I preseason men's coaches' poll. The Crimson Tide earned 13 of the 23 available first-place votes. It's the first time the school has been ranked atop the Golf World polls since the close of the 2007-08 season and the first time since the polls were revived in 2001-02 that the team is No. 1 to start the fall.
Defending NCAA champion Texas, with eight first-place votes, claimed the No. 2 spot in the ranking. The Longhorns won the national championship last June at Riviera CC, the first time the school had claim college golf's top prize in 40 years.
Pac-12 champion California, an NCAA semifinalist in 2012, earned the third spot with UCLA and Washington rounding out the top five.
Duke is one of five ACC teams ranked in the first poll of the season. The Blue Devils are joined by conference foes Georgia Tech (No. 7), Florida State (No. 16), Virginia (No. 22) and Clemson (No. 24).
Duke opens the fall season Sept. 15-16 at the Tar Heel Invitational at Finley Golf Club in Chapel Hill.
Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches' Preseason Poll
Rank Team 1. Alabama 2. Texas 3. California 4. UCLA 5. Washington 6. Auburn 7. Georgia Tech 8. Arkansas 9. USC 10. Texas A&M 11. Stanford 12. Florida 13. UNLV 14. Oregon 15. North Florida 16. Florida State 17. San Diego State 18. Kent State 19. Georgia 20. Central Florida 21. Duke 22. Virginia 23. New Mexico 24. Clemson 25. Oklahoma
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